Marisha never had parents. From birth, she was raised in an orphanage and could not understand why she did not have her own family. After all, you can’t give up your children, which means that her mother didn’t leave, she got sick and died. Otherwise, she would have come and taken her daughter to herself.
When Marisha was sick, hurt herself or was afraid of something, she cried and, like all children, called for her mother, but Anna Vasilyevna, the teacher, appeared instead of her. She hugged the girl to herself and pitied her in a motherly way. At such moments, Marisha wished that her pain would never go away, and then this kind, pleasantly smelling woman would never let her out of her arms.
But this was not always the case, more often there were other educators on shift, serious rude and strict. They did not let the unfortunate children near them and, taking over the shift, simply fulfilled their duties, not wanting to share with the refuseniks at least a small part of their warmth.
– Well, don’t whine, shut your mouth, they told you! – Tamara Konstantinovna and Vera Ilyinichna, who also worked as educators, pulled Marisha down. And immediately turned to her abusers.
– You already got it… So, everyone, get up and get out of here… Quickly, who is told! We sat down for lessons! And why are you all crowded there? There are pencils, draw and don’t yap! It seemed to the children that they did not even know which of them and what their names were. They were offended, hated, refused to obey, but could not change anything.
Anna Vasilyevna was not like that. She always knew how to find an approach even to the most unruly guys, tried to brighten up their sad fate and help, if not with business, then with advice. And yet she treated Marisha with special warmth. She felt sorry for this little girl with big gray eyes, in which some incomprehensible fear of an evil, cruel life froze. Sometimes Anna Vasilyevna took Marisha to her home for the weekend and there the girl willingly played with Anna’s son Slavik. He was two years older than the girl and behaved like an older brother to her. Marisha liked it very much, and she was looking forward to Anna Vasilyevna taking her home again. Anna did not have a husband, she lived with an old mother, grandmother Nina and Slavik. And it seemed to Marisha that this was the best family in the world.
One day Marisha was visiting Anna and while she was cooking dinner, she was drawing in front of the TV. Some kind of program started and suddenly Marisha forgot about coloring and pencils, without taking her eyes off the screen. Anna at first did not even understand what was happening, and when she entered the room where the girl was, she saw that she was singing… And not just a song, but a fragment of some aria, repeating it after Maria Callas, about whom there was a program.
The girl’s clear voice took quite high notes, and Anna froze in the doorway with her mouth open.
– Marisha… How do you do it? – the woman admired. – I don’t know, but it’s so simple … – the girl answered and smiled at Anna. – My little one, you have a real talent. Listen, I’m off on Monday and you and I are going to see a vocal teacher. I want a real master to listen to you. I’m sure you have a great future ahead of you, don’t you want to sing, perform from the stage?
– I want to, – Marisha nodded and began to look forward to Monday, which promised something new and unusual that could change her life.
And so, waking up early on Monday morning, she began to look forward to the arrival of Anna Vasilyevna, but for some reason she was delayed. The girl was rushing from window to window, afraid to miss her beloved teacher, and did not even go to lunch.
But time passed, and Anna was still not there. Marisha began to worry if she had forgotten about her, but Anna always kept her word, she couldn’t break it like that, just like that. When Marisha refused dinner, still standing at the window and swallowing tears of resentment, Vera Ilyinichna, the teacher on duty, came up to her and began to scold the girl for her stupid antics.
– Do you want to go to bed hungry? Here’s more news. Come quickly to the table, everyone has almost eaten. Do I have to mess with you alone? Come on, why are you staring out that window? – the woman grabbed the girl by the hand and dragged her along.
Marisha burst into tears: – Don’t, I’m waiting for Anna Vasilyevna! She promised to come.
– There is no more your Anna Vasilyevna. The car hit her to death in the morning, so go eat quickly and go to bed! Shut your mouth, after all, that you’re howling like a siren!!!
Rude shouts and the iron grip of the teacher did not break the girl, she did not eat, and she cried bitterly lying in bed, physically feeling the pain of an irreparable loss. But night was replaced by day, another hurried after him, the same weeks, months, years followed in succession. Marisha grew up and the older she got, the less she was offended.
And they only teased Jay for trying to sing, imitating the performers of the songs. Often the girl hid in the toilet or lilac bushes and sang there, for a long time bringing out an invented or overheard vocalization.
One day, fifteen–year-old Marisha went to the director of the orphanage and asked her to help with singing training: — I like singing so much, Olga Igorevna…
– Listen, Semenova, get out of here. I’m not up to you at all, there are checks after checks, even howling like a wolf, so I’m sorry, I’m not up to songs.
– But Olga Igorevna… – So, I said get out of here! Don’t you have anything to do??? Marisha left. First to the courtyard of the orphanage, then to the street, then further and further away… She did not understand the road, just walked and looked around with longing.
The city lived its own life. Everyone had their own worries, families, affairs, and only no one cared about her. Suddenly she saw an old woman who was crossing the road on a zebra crossing at a green light. She was in a hurry, but still did not have time, the traffic light blinked and turned red. An impatient driver in an expensive car signaled, the car howled, staying in place, but the old woman threw the bag in fright and sat down with her hands covered. The driver, a very young man, jumped out and began to shout at her, without choosing expressions. But Marisha rushed to her aid.
– Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? – the girl turned to the driver. – Will you never be old? You see, Grandma was scared.
– Let your grandmother stay at home if she can’t walk on the roads. – No, you can’t be let out of the house because you don’t know how to handle people! Marisha helped the old woman to get up, quickly collected the groceries that had fallen out of the bag and escorted the old woman across the road.
– Thank you, honey. I was so scared, even my heart ached… I thought I was going to die here…
– Come on, it’s all right. You still have to live and live,» the girl smiled.
– What’s your name, baby?
– Marisha. – Marina? – No, it’s Marisha. It is written in my passport as follows: Semenova Marisha Vitalievna. And you?
– And I’m Vera Ivanovna. So we met. Marisha, are you in a hurry? Can you walk me home? I live nearby. The girl agreed, and Vera Ivanovna thanked her for her responsiveness, and when they came, she gave her savior tea. Marisha found out that Vera Ivanovna lives alone, she doesn’t have a family and children, somehow it didn’t work out in her life.
The girl politely listened to the old woman’s stories, sympathized with her, and then said goodbye and left, regretfully thinking that it was impossible to stay as long as possible and annoy the kind grandmother. Marisha spent two days off at the city market, asking for help from a cheburek trader. She washed the floor, took out the trash, did all the menial work, and Zulya fed her for it, rejoicing that she had found such a free assistant. Marisha spent the night at the train station, choosing an inconspicuous bench in the far corner. And on Monday morning, the girl went to the opera house, hoping that she would find a person there who, after hearing her sing, would help her to go out into the world.
No one in the theater paid attention to the poorly dressed girl, everyone was busy and incredibly fussy, and in the end, some stout man, strict and important, said to Marisha: — What are you hanging around here for? A thief? Who let you in here?
– No, no, — Marisha stammered in fright, – I’m singing… I’m singing … – Go to the street in the passage to sing! I found a singer too! Get out, or I’ll call security! The girl was scared and ran out of the theater, but immediately ran into Vera Ivanovna.
The old woman cried out joyfully, and then asked: – Marishenka, what are you doing here? Through tears, the girl told the kind grandmother about everything.
She was very surprised: – And why didn’t you tell me right away that you were an orphanage? And what do you like to sing? And, wait, where have you been sleeping all this time?
«At the train station,– sighed Marisha.
«Well, my dear, that won’t do. In general, so, wait for me here, I’ll go to the accounting department of the theater, pick up the prize. They so messed up with the payments and ended up owing me. Yes, I forgot to tell you, granddaughter, I am an opera singer who has served in this theater all my life. Now you and I will go home, I will listen to you, and then we will decide what to do with you. I’ll teach you to sing myself. Well, wait, I’ll be back soon…
From that day on, Marisha stayed with Vera Ivanovna. The old lady was struck by the girl’s vocal abilities, and she willingly began to teach her everything she knew herself. Less than a year has passed since Marisha began to try herself at charity concerts. And when Vera Ivanovna connected her old connections and announced to everyone that Marisha was her granddaughter, such latitudes opened up before the girl, which she had never dreamed of. Ten years have passed. While Vera Ivanovna was alive, Marisha did not leave her, refusing even profitable performances. And although the old lady was angry at her adopted granddaughter for this, she was very grateful to her in her heart.
But as soon as her grandmother was gone, Marisha agreed to any proposal and performed wherever she was invited. She has also been abroad several times, but with special trepidation she appeared on the stage of her native opera and ballet theater. One day, returning home, Marisha saw a little boy, about five years old. He stood at the window of a pastry shop and watched people choose cakes and cakes.
Marisha, who never forgot about her childhood, could not stand it, stepped up to the boy and sat down in front of him, taking his hand: – Hello, baby. Why are you standing here alone? And what’s your name?
«Sasha,» the boy replied. And I’m standing here because I’m dreaming…
– About what?
– Today is my dad’s birthday, and I would like to buy him a chocolate cake. But I don’t have any money. But when I grow up, I’ll buy him all the chocolate cakes in the world.
– Where’s your dad?
– At home. He can’t walk with me and lets me go alone for a while. And he doesn’t walk. Only rides in a wheelchair. And we don’t have a mother, she’s dead.
– Tell you what, Sashenka, let’s go to the pastry shop with you and choose sweets for you and dad and a chocolate cake too. And then we’ll go to that store over there and buy a lot of delicious things there too. Shall we go? – Marisha held out her hand to the boy, and he trustingly put his thin palm into it.
And half an hour later they came to the old and shabby door of Sasha’s apartment. Marisha opened it with the key that the boy had, and they entered.
– Sashok! – I heard from the kitchen. – You’re on time. I’m already frying potatoes…
– Folder! Look who came to us! – the child joyfully rushed to his father and the astonished man saw a beautiful young woman in front of him with packages in her hands.
– Happy birthday, – she smiled and praised his caring son.
The man gave the boy a cursory glance, then spread his hands: – Forgive him, he’s still so naive… We don’t need anything, why do you…
–Well, no,» Marisha interrupted him. – I don’t even want to listen to anything. What is your name?
– Very nice, and I’m Marisha. So, Vyacheslav, help me disassemble these packages, otherwise my hands will soon come off.
The man shyly began to help her, and then suddenly looked up at her eyes: – Did you say Marisha? This is Marina, right?
«No,» she laughed. – Marisha, this is Marisha. That’s such a strange name.
– I knew one Marisha, it was a long time ago, in childhood. She was my mother’s pupil.
The bag of oranges fell out of Marisha’s hands. She slowly turned to the man and said: – Slava-ah? You’re Slavik!!! The son of Anna Vasilyevna! Oh my God! – in a fit of feelings, Marisha rushed to hug her childhood friend, and then, laughing and crying at the same time, covered his face with kisses, as if she had met a long-lost brother.
When all the emotions subsided, Slavik said that after the death of his mother he lived with his grandmother, then she also died. After the army, Slava got married and Sasha was born to them. They lived well, and although there was no special prosperity in the family, there was enough for a modest life. They even bought an old foreign car, and Olya’s wife unlearned her driver’s license, fulfilling her long-standing dream. Somehow they were following Sasha to kindergarten, suddenly a car that flew out from somewhere cut them off and Olya, releasing the steering wheel, did not have time to orient herself. The accident was terrible. Olga died on the spot, there were two more dead. Slava was taken to the hospital in a serious condition. Doctors had been fighting for his life for a long time and now he was on the mend, but immediately found out that there was a question of giving Sasha to an orphanage. All this time he lived with a distant relative.
After checking out, Sasha sold the apartment, paid off his debts, bought off the guardianship authorities, and bought this one with the remaining funds.
«That’s how we live now,» he spread his hands. – But what am I all about us? Tell me about yourself…
– I’ll tell you, but not here. Get ready, Slavik. We’re moving. You will live with me. And you, Slava, don’t forget your medical documents, they will be useful to us when you undergo treatment in the best clinics in the world,» Marisha said in a confident tone.
Three years have passed.
Marisha finished her performance and saw her husband standing backstage. Slava was holding a baby in his arms and smiling.
– Mommy, my daughter wants to eat.
Marisha laughed: – Give it here, Slavik. How was she, wasn’t she naughty?
– No, what are you… She’s just a miracle! Feed her, and we’ll go pick up Sanka from the section. Will you be free soon?
– In about an hour.
– That’s good. We’ll be waiting for you at home.
Marisha looked up at her husband with happy eyes: she had a house, children, a husband… there was her family, real and loving… the kind she had always dreamed of.